There is a motion beside me that alerts my senses. I wake.
Miriam is sitting on the side of the bed. I beg her to come back to bed.
She will as soon as she finishes something but I have no idea what that something is. Seems to have something to do with her shoes.
I get up and walk around the bed in the semi darkness to where she is slouched, right after I make a run to the bathroom. I am old guy after all.
When I return she is still in the same position. She mutters something about shoes again. I still do not understand, but I kneel down and take her shoes off of her feet. She protests. She has taken a pad off the shelf in front of her bed. She sleeps on the pad so she won’t get the bed wet.
I put the pad back on the shelf and swing her back to a reclining position. In the process of turning her so her head goes on the pillow end and not crosswise, the pad slips (we should have easy slide pads under her bum, I decide).
I do get her back in position. I tuck the bedding around her. All is well (I think).
On the other side of the bed I climb inside the covers still mostly sleepy. There is a chance I can get back to sleep yet. But then she wiggles and moves. I try to figure it all out. What wrinkle is bothering her.
So I get out of bed again and walk around to her side, pull the covers back and smooth out her long night gown while I ask about the current problem. Ahh, it is that long night gown that is the problem.
Covered up again, she is ready to go back to sleep. I return to my side of the bed, but sleep has vanished from my eyes and head.
I spent some of last weekend in Idaho at a high school for troubled teens.
There is a family member who is enrolled in the school. I think she is doing fine, though she might argue with me.
Still, I found the situation very depressing. Again, not the family member, who was on discipline because she was behind in her class work, not for open acts of rebellion. I am pretty upbeat about her.
There were lovely young women there, teens. I have no idea what they are there for, I have no idea what has troubled their lives, but I do know that the gamut is all encompassing, and I do know they would not be there unless there were serious issues.
But they looked so good. They were sad, some with deep tear rings under their eyes, others just sad. They could not talk to me, but if I started a conversation, they could respond. I did talk to a few. Then their eyes lit up as they answered my simple questions. (Personal questions are off limits, and I totally respect that.)
As I think of this school and the students, I think how much better my life (and the life of almost every one I know) would have been been improved had we had some of instructions on handling life and counseling that these kids are getting. Maybe we would not need a whole year’s worth, but a bit of help would have been so good.
Life is not easy. It is not smooth. Some of us were born to families who who by luck or knowledge did a pretty good job keeping us from being a mass of mental scar tissue. Some of were not so lucky.
I am glad this school exists. I am glad for the staff who work hard, most likely for less than wonderful pay, to help the young people of our lives who got off to a really bad start.
This blog began as a spot to vent about my life with Miriam and her time with Alzheimer's disease.
She was diagnosed in '99 and her decline has been quite slow. In fact some of our best years of our long marriage have been these recent years.
Alzherimer's, at least her version is a disease of waiting. One shoe drops and it can be a very long time before the other one drops.
So life goes on.
At the beginning of this blog I told the story of our courtship and marriage, about out family and our personal journey with this disease. The part that scares the most is the anticipation as the disease slowly progresses.
So, I will touch on that subject from time to time, but the entries will tend toward comments on life. I'll leave politics and religion for others to worry about, not that I don't have strong opinions!
I have my hands full just looking after my wonderful Miriam.
We met when we were 6, began dating at 15 and have been together since. We will have our 56th anniversary this June.
We have four wonderful daughters. Smart, independent, awesome. They have given us 7 grandsons and 4 granddaughters. None of them are little any more. The oldest is 28 and married, the youngest is 14.
Until this last fall we lived in a hosue I designed and built in the '70's and it is pretty weird and wild, but very comfortable. Last summer the girls came to the conclusion that I really did need help dealing with Miriam. Now we live on a couple acres with daughter 1.
Life has been good. There is not much I would do different even if I could. We are rich beyond belief but chronically short of cash!
And, unless stated otherwise all the photographs are mine.